Thursday, December 01, 2005

Apologies, Ansel and Co.

In the past I have been heard to remark that photography is the laziest means of artistic expression. I said this because the photographers I have met were all pretty lazy hippie idiots. Some showed talent, hell, one was a local legend in the north side boho community. He could draw, too. Marvelous sketches, let me tell you, but he opted to put down the charcoal pencil in favor of the old point-and-click. It freed up valuable time for getting high and cavorting with DePaul girls all-too-anxious to label him a genius.

I joke with the up and coming young photo goons telling them to have a nice future taking family portraits at Sears. None of them laugh, just like none of the theater students ever laughed when I asked them if they liked waiting tables. These people are too serious. Anyway, I have maintained my belief about photographers for some time, even though I do respect many who dedicated themselves to the art. But still… it seems a bit less taxing then painting or writing, but that doesn’t mean it is less valid (even if the great unwashed flock to it as an easy means of claiming to be “artists”).

I had to re-evaluate my feelings on photography recently. A good friend, let’s call him Mr. X., is doing rather well with his photos, better than anyone else I know. Kudos to him. And his photos are quite good so he deserves all he gets-- some recognition and a few bucks here and there. It is quite good work and I really saw what someone could do with a camera, assuming they have the eye.

Another friend, let’s call her Ms. Diosa, mentioned taking some photography classes. She is well aware of my feelings on the subject and seemed a bit scared to tell me. How silly. I don’t judge people for finding an allure in photography, for wanting to take pictures or express themselves in that way. I simply wish to point out that it can be easy to carry a camera and call yourself an artist, a word I am loathe to apply to most people, especially myself. I suppose it is not very different than carrying around a guitar or a laptop or a set of colored pencils and doing the same. But I digress. So to her I say: go ahead and pursue it. I’m more confident about your keen eye than anyone else’s I know. I love what you have done already.

And another person I know, we’ll call her Ms. S., has labeled herself an “artist” simply because she can point a camera and press a button. Well, that may or may not be the case but I am always suspicious of anyone who uses that word so liberally. The title seems more important to them than the work itself.

It is not the good photography I dislike, it is the all-too-easily crafted mediocrity that fuels my criticism of the whole medium. Like most art, when it is good it is really something amazing, but it is usually bad and when it is bad, boy is it bad.

Then again, what do I know? Oh wait… everything. Art is the one subject I am cocky about. I don’t really know everything about it, no, (just almost everything) but I know enough to know what I like and why. And, goddmanit, I refuse to take it lightly when bad artists take refuge in easy mediums.

Anyway, to the few who read this, I hope this clears some things up. I apologize for calling all photographers lazy and all photography fans illiterate. That was the booze talking.

Kiss kiss.